The Omaha Symphony's upcoming season celebrates Bernstein

May 30, 2017

Omaha Symphony Maestro Thomas Wilkins says from now until 2020 when he leaves the symphony, one of his primary goals is revisiting favorite pieces as well as conducting repertoire he’s always wanted to do.

Wilkins says the Symphony will celebrate American composer Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday by playing his pieces on various programs throughout the season. 

In January, Wilkins will conduct a program featuring the music of Bernstein, Duke Ellington and Aaron Copland. 

He says the Symphony will be accompanied by dancers as they perform Copland’s Appalachian Spring.  Wilkins has always been a big proponent of American orchestras playing American music. 

He says this performance is a celebration of American composers.

"If you’re going to do Bernstein who was, well you can’t call him quintessential, but in a sense you can call all three of these composers: Bernstein, Ellington and Copland, three of the great representatives of American music in that era.  But there was something about Bernstein that when you hear is music you hear him.  You get to meet him.  And his flamboyance, his genius, it’s all in his music.”

Wilkins says for Ellington’s Harlem, the Symphony will have to hire an extra screech trumpet player.  Other programs in the Masterworks Series will focus on Dvorak, Beethoven and Mahler. 

Season tickets are currently on sale for all of the Omaha Symphony’s musical series.  For more information, the website is